It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that the pen is mightier than the sword. I’m starting to believe that those statements are losing their truth in these modern times.
With more than a thousand photo uploads on social media platforms and people speaking their minds through their walls, it will be hard to filter out and address the issues that matter.
As a photographer first, and writer second, the story of a photograph and the message that it carries is what generally pushes me to leave a reaction on other people’s posts. With the youth patronizing materialism, society’s approval and just living in the moment, writers who focus on the issues on the natural world are often cast aside.
When I started my career in travel photography, it was as simple as posting picturesque locations, writing about the experience, and uploading it to various travel sites or social media accounts.
However, as the years passed on through, I learned that promoting one place is only the tip of the iceberg. In the instance that hundreds to thousands of people visit it in a week, the impact to the locals and to the place will be quite significant.
With plastic waste becoming a major problem not only to our country’s destinations but to the whole world, it is alarming enough that a lot of dead marine animals wash-up ashore and after careful study died because they have consumed a large amount of plastics. From individual, corporate, and national levels, we are all guilty to have made a destructive impact in our environment.
Reality can be very much disappointing. Some choose to divert their attentions to some form of entertainment than rather problems at hand. Yes, getting a job and providing for our families is our responsibility, but we have our own responsibilities as well on giving back, caring, and nurturing the one and only world that we have.
Money does not grown on trees, but no amount of money can purify all the waters if they become polluted, cleanse the air once it becomes unsafe to breathe or grow back all the trees after they are cut down. Only then can people realize that we cannot eat money. It may be a very hard pill to swallow, but this is the reality of our modern society. People have become so caught up on becoming a who’s who in this social step ladder that they forget to live simply.
In a class discussion when I was in abroad a year ago, I remember it vividly that it was there that first sparked my interest on the practices of sustainable tourism or ecotourism.
Tourism is a great tool on giving jobs to the locals, promoting the destination, and to create income for further projects. However, proper laws and implementations of these accords should be enforced without bias. Tourism is a fire that could either give you a warm meal or burn down your house.
As a photographer that was heavily connected to the tourism industry for years, I truly believe that our country is a world class beautiful destination. Just here in our region alone, we have ASEAN heritage parks, volcanoes, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, white sand beaches, alluring white islands, and a collection of indigenous people. It would be a great pain if these places and the people that live near it will slowly regress due to the irresponsible acts of visitors or tourists.
Writing for over 2 years now, I have yet to fully grasp how to catch the attention of readers. I do hope that through my photographs, people can see the beauty of our destinations and in their own way, support the locals, care for the area, and pass forward to other people the practices to further sustain it.
I am neither rich nor gifted in the material aspect, I do however can only take pride in the passion to photograph, and somehow write for the people, places, and advocacies that matter to me most.
And so in conclusion for this article, I would like to remind the readers to practice 3 simple rules when we’re outdoors, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time”.
It may sound like an overly used quote which is put up on trails and terminus, but these are definite rules that we must all follow in order to assure that our next generations may be able to enjoy these places the same way we did. Our interaction with the environment must be part of our day to day mindset, and even if we can say that life is a myriad of responsibilities, what we do today will echo on through the years hereafter. Live Simply.